Day in the Life of a Web Developer


Updated May 26, 2023

Web development is an exciting and growing field. Learn about the day-to-day of a web developer, including common tasks and responsibilities for these professionals. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Web developers play an important role in the digital economy: Data from a 2011 study suggests consumers create an opinion on a website in as little as 0.05 seconds, so maintaining a functional, professional interface can be crucial to a business's success.

A web developer is responsible for creating sites and web apps. Individuals who enjoy solving problems and creating products may thrive in this career. Responsibilities for web developers include meeting with clients, creating websites, and troubleshooting.

Explore this page to learn more about a day in the life of a web developer.

What Is a Web Developer?

A web developer is a programming professional who turns web designs into operational sites through lines of code. The field emerged in the 1990s: In 1993, Tim Berners-Lee published the first version of HTML, one of the earliest web design languages. CSS, another internet programming language, first gained commercial usage with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3 in 1996.

Popular contemporary programming languages for web development include PHP, Python, Java, SQL, and Ruby. Careers in this field usually require proficiency in several of these languages. Though some web developers are self-taught, many complete a bootcamp program or bachelor's degree.

What Does a Web Developer Do?

The primary goal for web developers is creating functional, user-friendly websites that meet client specifications and end-users' needs. These professionals make information, services, and products accessible globally.

Web developers can work as independent contractors or as full-time employees. In freelance roles, they collaborate directly with clients. As full-time employees, they typically work on a team, regularly interacting with other developers, web designers, IT professionals, and management.

Responsibilities for web developers vary according to their specialization — front-end, back-end, or full-stack — and current project. Tasks include building new websites, fixing bugs in existing sites, and enhancing the user experience.

The ideal web development professional possesses strong communication and collaboration skills, creativity, and a knack for programming languages. Experienced web developers may advance to senior web developer or project manager roles.

Daily Responsibilities of Web Developers

  • Meet with Clients/Management: Communication is a crucial skill in this field. Web developers speak directly with clients or management about the vision and user needs for sites as they develop these digital interfaces.
  • Write Code: A significant part of web developers' day includes writing code for websites in languages like HTML, CSS, and Java. Depending on their specialization, web developers may focus on front-end code, back-end code, or both.
  • Create and Test Applications: Web developers create custom controls, dynamic content, navigation menus, and mobile applications for websites. These professionals test elements of the user interface to identify and correct bugs.
  • Coordinate with Other Team Members: Web developers often coordinate with other professionals to create sites. Project managers, business analysts, user experience designers, and quality assurance engineers all collaborate with web developers.
  • Monitoring Site Performance and Traffic: In addition to building new sites and applications, web developers can also serve as webmasters for their employers' internal websites. Webmasters update and maintain site functionality, including monitoring errors and metrics, resolving long load times, and ensuring applications work properly.

Occasional Responsibilities of Web Developers

  • Create Graphic Designs: Web developers' duties can overlap with other creative fields. For example, front-end web developers may use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or similar applications to establish the desired look and feel of a site before they begin coding. Small businesses may rely on web developers to create graphics for their sites.
  • Perform Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Businesses may rely on web developers to optimize their sites so they are ranked highly in search engine results. Key SEO web development tasks include avoiding duplicate content on webpages, using efficient code layout, and optimizing sites for mobile devices. Developers may also integrate SEO keywords into website content.
  • Work Outside Their Specialization: Unless they are trained in full-stack development, web developers typically specialize in either front-end — customer-facing — development or back-end — server-side — development. Each specialization requires its own set of skills, so a front-end developer rarely works on back-end projects or vice versa. Occasionally, however, specific jobs will require these developers to use skills outside their specialization.
  • Generate Online Content: Clients may ask web developers to generate content for the sites they build and maintain. This can include uploading blog posts, sourcing stock images, creating infographics, and editing video content for publication.
  • Aid in Marketing Efforts: Web developers working for digital agencies that specialize in web design may engage in direct marketing efforts with potential clients. This can include responding to email and phone inquiries. Web developers also provide marketing support for external clients by updating site pages and applications to reflect current sales campaigns.

Typical Day for a Web Developer

A day in the life of a web developer varies depending on whether they work as a freelancer or as a full-time employee.

A freelance web developer typically begins the day by reviewing upcoming deadlines and holding planning sessions with clients. These developers spend most of their day coding or debugging sites. Freelance developers regularly discuss progress with their clients, handle administrative tasks like finances, and search for new work opportunities.

Web developers employed full time usually start their day with development team meetings. In these sessions, each professional summarizes their project progress and plans their upcoming workdays to meet deadlines. Aside from meetings, these developers spend the day coding for their current projects.

Exact coding responsibilities vary between front- and back-end developers, but all code is typically uploaded to a central testing server or GitHub for final review before approval and publication. Throughout the day, web developers may confer with management or coworkers to discuss issues and brainstorm solutions. They may need to respond to urgent coding-related errors on sites they develop.

Where Do Web Developers Work?

In addition to freelance roles, web developers can work full time in offices or remotely. These professionals can find jobs in many fields, including finance, retail, and technology.

Areas with thriving tech and business sectors often employ the highest numbers of web developers: According to 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the states with the most web developers include California, New York, and Washington.

Some locations require specialized web developers. For instance, in Washington, D.C., more web developers may work for government agencies than their counterparts in other areas of the country, roles which can require specific skills or knowledge.

Freelancers and remote employees can work for any industry from home. While freelancers have additional freedom to choose which projects they work on, these careers may offer less financial stability because of irregular work schedules or high business expenses.

Professional Spotlight: Mark Himmelman, Owner of Cyber Hive Media

What's a typical day like for you?

My day typically starts with checking emails. Once I have everything in my inbox caught up, I immediately check my task list. After getting my daily tasks organized, I start coding. There are typically meetings throughout each day as well. These meetings are sometimes internal, where we discuss our projects, how they are going, if anyone needs help, etc. Some are external, where we are presenting, receiving feedback, and discussing ideas to help better shape the final results of a project.

What other teams do you work with on a regular basis?

I regularly work with graphic designers, content writers, marketing strategists, and SEO specialists.

Is there a lot of collaboration in your role? Or is it mostly independent work?

I find web development to be quite collaborative. Everyone needs to be on the same page to ensure the project goes over smoothly.

Do you work in an office or from home (or a hybrid)?

I currently work in a hybrid scenario. During times when I need to focus more on collaboration, I will work from an office, and times when I need to focus and work without interruption, I work from my home office.

What's your favorite part of being a web developer / business owner? The most challenging part?

My favorite part of working as a web developer as well as a business owner is working directly with clients to bring marketing ideas to life. The most challenging part for me is getting stuck troubleshooting a strange bug that can sometimes be quite time-consuming to resolve.

Any other insights about your day to day as a web developer / business owner that may help people considering this career path?

Overall, I find this career to be very rewarding! It always feels amazing to finish a website, and it feels even better to present the finished website to a client that is thrilled with your work. I also love learning and mastering my skill set as a developer. I have been doing this for almost ten years now, and I still get extremely excited when I fix a difficult bug or overcome challenges.

For whom do you think this career is a good fit? Why?

I think web development is an excellent career choice for people who love doing things like putting Legos together or working on large puzzles. For me, writing code is very similar. When you are provided a web design, you now have all the pieces — you just need to put them together.

Portrait of Mark Himmelman

Mark Himmelman

Mark Himmelman is the owner of Cyber Hive Media. He works on a variety of client projects, tackling all facets of digital marketing, including web design and development. A problem-solver extraordinaire, Mark has always enjoyed building things from scratch. He spent a lot of time in his childhood building websites for fun, creating unique and funny content for each project.

Mark studied at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, earning an IT diploma with a major in software development. What he loves most about his job is being able to work with amazing clients and creating visual products for clients and users to engage with and enjoy. Mark finds his joy in creating interactive websites that appeal to different audiences.

More Questions About the Day to Day of Web Developers

How many hours does a web developer work each week?

Most web developers work full time — approximately 40 hours a week. Developers may need to work overtime to meet client or employer needs. Freelance web developers make their own schedules.

Is web development a stressful job?

As with any computer science profession, web development can be stressful. Challenges include tight deadlines, client demands, and unexpected bugs or design problems.

What does a web developer do on a daily basis?

The typical day-to-day of a web developer requires meeting with clients or management to discuss website needs, writing code with programming languages, testing applications and interfaces, and working with other team members to create website layouts.

Do web developers typically work from home?

It is possible for web developers, especially freelancers, to work from home. As with many careers, the number of remote jobs for web developers has increased in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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